For 24 years, BHC President and CEO T.K. Somanath has worked tirelessly to change lives and transform communities across the Richmond region. On June 30, T.K. will retire, leaving a lasting footprint throughout our community.
“T.K. is the epitome of a servant leader, and our community is a better place because of him,” said John McCann, chairman of BHC’s Board of Directors.
“BHC is well-known for collaborating with residents to ensure that community development is focused on their needs,” adds McCann. “T.K. makes sure that BHC stays in communities as long as necessary to ensure that they stabilize, revitalize and create opportunities for residents to succeed.
“This can take years and it costs more than traditional development models,” says McCann. “T.K. has taught us that it’s the right thing to do when working with more vulnerable populations.”
T.K. has led BHC to receive national recognition for several of its communities. One of these is Winchester Greens in Chesterfield County. When BHC began redeveloping this decaying, crime-ridden community in 1997, the average income of residents was $6,000 and only 20 percent of them were working. Chesterfield police were logging 1,200 calls a year to respond to criminal activity.
Today, the average income of the original residents is $25,000, the vast majority are employed, and the police only receive about 10 calls a year. The average income of all residents – not just the original ones — is $35,000. Many young people who have participated in BHC’s after-school and summer programs have gone to college or trade schools. Teens participating in this program have had zero pregnancies, too.
Fortunately for the Richmond community, T.K. will continue to be an active volunteer with several non-profit organizations. He also will teach at VCU’s Urban and Regional Studies and Planning program, and he plans to travel and spend time with family.
If you would like to send a message to T.K., please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
Upon his retirement, we will present T.K. with the names of donors and the tributes written.